The Meteora Monasteries are found in an otherworldly landscape of tall, cylindrical rocks rising precipitously from the countryside below. At the tops of some of these rock towers are monastic communities which date back to the 1200’s. Today there are six monasteries open to the public. The most convenient embarkation point is the city of Kalambaka, about a two-hour drive southwest from Thessaloniki, and a 3-4 hour drive from Athens.
The monasteries recommended for the tourist are the following: Ayia Barbara (sometimes known as Roussanou), which has particularly superb picture-taking opportunities, Megalo Meteora, the highest monastery at 450 meters (1360 feet), Ayios Nikolaos Anapafsas, with its beautiful frescoes, Varlaam, which, unfortunately, requires a climb of almost 200 steps, and Ayios Stephanos, the oldest of the monasteries. Other monasteries in the area include Ayia Triada, which also has spectacular views, and Ayia Moni, which is deserted.